Three down, two to go.
After the Pro Football Hall of Fame opted to postpone this year’s Hall of Fame Game, the NFL reportedly has decided to take things a step further as it grapples with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the league officially chopped the 2020 preseason down to two games by scrapping Weeks 1 and 4.
Teams now are scheduled to play a single exhibition contest at home and another on the road, the only live action sandwiched between the July 28 start of training camp and the Sept. 10 regular-season kickoff.
“The move was driven by two primary factors,” Florio explained. “First, teams who will be playing preseason games on the road won’t want to move that many people. Second, given that no teams had on-field practice sessions in the offseason, coaches would rather have the extra time to work with their teams, and that will happen if they don’t have to worry about two extra preseason games.”
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What It Means for Big D
This not-so-surprising pivot has implications for every club, but it’s especially impactful to the Cowboys, who lost the HOF Game, slated to take place against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as their Aug. 16 tilt against the Los Angeles Chargers and their Sept. 3 finale at Houston.
Assuming the NFL Players Association’s blessing, Dallas would host the Baltimore Ravens on Aug. 22 and stay home to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Aug. 29. It’s unclear if the organization will maintain its fortuitous docket or be forced to travel, in the spirit of competitive fairness.
However, the NFLPA hasn’t given its blessing. Not yet, anyway. And according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, it remains a possibility that no preseason games are held this summer, mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.
“NFL teams would like to play two preseason games to get a read on their rosters and get ready for Week 1, though the NFLPA hasn’t signed off on that and is wondering if it’s wise to start mixing teams for games that don’t count in the standings,” Garafolo reported Wednesday evening.
CeeDee Lamb Draws Big-Time Preseason Hype
Provided the pair of matchups go as planned next month — hardly a lock given the country’s ever-changing climate — Cowboys fans should be salivating over the sight of CeeDee Lamb.
At least, according to Bleacher Report columnist Kristopher Knox, who selected the first-round rookie wide receiver as the player who will most excite the Cowboys during the exhibition period.
The Oklahoma product is an explosive pass-catcher who racked up 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. While he was a bit of a luxury pick at No. 17, his big-play ability could make Dallas’ passing attack nearly indefensible. Theoretically, the Cowboys could have three 1,000-yard receivers in 2020.
The team will get its first real look at Cooper, Gallup and Lamb together in the preseason—and the Cowboys should be extremely excited to do so.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL